Environmental Justice Progress Report

Volume 11, February 1998

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Cleanup Decision for George Miller School Forefront of Navy/Cal-EPA Dispute

Milestone Remedial Investigation Report Studies End, Is Cleanup Next or Not?

News in Brief

Cleanup Decision for George Miller School Forefront of Navy/Cal-EPA Dispute

EJPP has often highlighted the Navy/Cal-EPA dispute as a flagrant example of environmental racism. In August 1997, EJPP reported that the Navy and Cal-EPA agreed to disagree. Two risk screens would be made. One screen using the Navy's proposed method, the other using a screening method based on Cal-EPA policies.

EJPP reviewed the Environmental Baseline Survey risk screens to find an example of when the two methods would result in different cleanup decisions. EJPP found that Parcel 179, George Miller School, is such a site. The Navy's risk screen estimates the pollution at the site is at safe levels. The Cal-EPA risk screen estimates the pollution is unsafe.

The current lease for Parcel 179 contains a restriction which reads: The lessee (Alameda Unified School District) shall maintain an adequate amount of bark chips or other materials in the "play pit" area associated with outdoor playground equipment to ensure that underlying soil will not become exposed to persons using the equipment or otherwise present in the area.

The Navy has both a moral and legal obligation to protect students from environmental pollution hazards. Does the Navy dispute that too?

Milestone Remedial Investigation Report Studies End, Is Cleanup Next or Not?

The Navy announced that the Remedial Investigation (RI) Report for Operable Unit No. 1 (OU-1) will be released on February 10, 1998, for a 45 day public comment period. The RI Report marks a milestone because it acknowledges that the sampling and characterization of pollutants at 12 of the 24 identified cleanup sites has been completed.

Whether the RI, ongoing since 1983, will result in any meaningful cleanup of pollution at the Alameda Point Naval Air Station will not be known until the Feasibility Study (FS) Report for OU-1 is prepared later in the year. The FS Report will compare and recommend cleanup methods including the Navy's favorite cleanup method: "no action."

West End residents are encouraged to submit written comments on the RI Report to the Navy . Why? First, a number of the sites in Operable Unit No. 1 are anticipated to have off-base impacts that have not been investigated and they need to be. A principle concern is the pollutions impact on wildlife and fisheries. The Navy's previous ecological assessments were pathetic. The most important comment is enough is enough. Clean it up already.

The 12 sites in Operable Unit No. 1 include:

News In Brief

Aagh! RAB meeting moved to Navy office building:

Despite the objections of West End Concerned Citizens (WECC), the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) moved their monthly meeting to the Alameda Point Naval Air Station. The move contradicts the Department of Defenses public participation checklist that meetings be held at a location that is convenient and is considered "neutral turf."

EPA Region IX Administrator meets with Admiral responsible for Environmental Compliance

On January 28, 1998, the Navy's admiral for environmental compliance visited the US EPA's Regional offices in San Francisco. Prior to the meeting WECC was able to provide the EPA office with several examples of the ineffectiveness of the Department of Defense's Implementation Strategy for Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. Hopefully, now the Navy will see Superfund actions as an environmental justice issue.

Navy unfamiliar with Parcel 182 - Public Park remains open - Hazard Communication Program Ignored

The EJPP reported last month that the greatest risk from exposure to contaminated soil at NAS was found on Parcel 182 a public park located on Moseley Avenue in the North Housing. The Navy has agreed to provide the Restoration Advisory Board with an explanation of why this contaminated property was not made inaccessible following the most recent sampling in May 1995. The WECC representative at the February RAB meeting was the only one familiar with the risk screen made available to the public 2.5 years after sampling was performed.

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Revised February 17, 1998